The question most of us have in our free time isn’t whether or not to stream something, it’s, “What should I watch on Netflix?” Here are a few quick ways to get an answer.
Netflix is constantly tweaking its interface to tell you to watch certain shows and movies, but sometimes, it seems like Netflix pushes its own productions too strongly while ignoring more worthy options. Third-party recommendation engines, like those in this list, can be better at finding something more suited to your palate.
1. What The Hell Should I Watch On Netflix (Web): One Pick At a Time
If you don’t want to spend time tweaking a bunch of filters to find exactly what you’d like, this is the simple option. What The Hell Should I Watch On Netflix (WTHSIWON) focuses on speed and simplicity, giving you one pick at a time.
First, choose whether you want movies, TV shows, or anything at random. In the second step, choose the genre. You’ll immediately get a recommendation, complete with a trailer and a recommendation.
If it’s not what you’re looking for, WTHSIWON offers a few other options at the end of the recommendation, each with an alternative to something you might have found off-putting about the main choice.
WTHSIWON is quick and clutter free. The curated lists of movies are generally rated well on movie databases.
2. FlixWatch (Web): “Best of Netflix” Lists, By Region
Maybe you don’t want one recommendation but prefer to go through a list of them and choose your favorite? FlixWatch has those readymade lists for different categories, all sorted by the country you’re in.
Each country’s sub-section has lists for the 50 best movies or TV shows across genres like crime, action, comedy, family, drama, documentaries, and so on. The list has the movie’s or show’s title, a brief description, and the cast and crew details.
You can click “More Info” to find out things like the IMDb and Metacritic rankings, but I think it’s better to skip directly to the “Watch On Netflix” link which has better details, including trailers.
3. Compare Movies (Web): Compare Movies and TV Shows
Your friends have recommended a few things. You need to decide what to watch next. Put them all in Compare Movies to see their major details next to each other, to make it easier to choose.
Whether it’s a movie or a TV show, Compare Movies helps in figuring out the next thing to stream. Each movie or show appears as a long vertical column, and you can add as many other columns next to it as you like. The entire comparison can be shared as a link with anyone.
Details include things like what awards the movie has won, how many seasons a show has, the major cast and crew, and its IMDb and TMDb ratings. Quick links for videos and images will take you to YouTube playlists of trailers or best moments.
4. Shufflix (Web): Random Episodes of Favorite TV Shows
In the pre-streaming days, there was a certain charm to switching on your TV to find a rerun of an episode from one of your favorite TV shows. You weren’t picking what to watch, it was random; but you knew it was enjoyable. Shufflix adds that serendipity to Netflix.
The website first asks you to choose the country you watch Netflix in, and then shows a catalog of the many TV series available in your region. It’s a mix of different genres, and all are generally popular shows.
Pick one, and Shufflix chooses a random episode from it, along with the basic information of what happens in that episode. You can choose to watch the episode, or ask Shufflix to recommend another.
Shufflix works on both computers and mobile browsers. Tap the “watch now” button on mobile and it’ll directly open the episode in your Netflix app.
5. Netflix-Codes (Web): Easily Browse Secret Netflix Categories
Netflix’s worst-kept secret is that it has a large number of hidden categories to classify and tag movies and shows, which are never shown to the user. These secret codes help find new content, but it has always been a pain to input and browse them. Until Netflix Codes came along.
This site is the most eye-pleasing and organized way to check all the secret categories in Netflix. You get larger categories (for example: action and adventure, thriller, documentaries, comedies, etc.) as well as sub-categories in each (for example: martial arts movies, LGBT dramas, deep sea horror movies, military documentaries, etc.). The link is available right next to it, which you can click and browse in Netflix.
You’ll be surprised by just how many classifications Netflix has, which is unavailable for a regular user to browse through the app or web interface. Netflix Codes is a game-changer to find things you’ll like.
Recalibrate Your Netflix Recommendations
All of these alternatives wouldn’t be needed if Netflix’s recommendations worked well. Nonetheless, Netflix has a strong algorithm that figures out your tastes in movies and TV shows, based on what you watch and your ratings. But over time, this can go out of whack.
When you have some free time, it would be worth your while to recalibrate your Netflix recommendations, so that they are more helpful. Till you find that time, you can stick to the above apps and sites to quickly find something worth watching.
If you’re interested in trying another streaming service, here are some free TV shows you can watch on Crackle.